Credit rating companies face curbs on when they can assessgovernment debt and restrictions on their ownership under draftplans agreed upon by the European Union to limit the industry'sinfluence and tackle conflicts of interest.

Investors will also get the right to sue ratings companies ifthey lose money because of malpractice or gross negligence in theplans agreed upon yesterday by lawmakers from the EuropeanParliament and Cyprus, which holds the rotating presidency of theEU.

“We have reached a good result,” Michel Barnier, the EU'sfinancial services chief, said in an e-mailed statement. “With thisagreement, we are taking another important step towards financialstability.”

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